Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - French cultural exchange kicks off on Saturday



French cultural exchange kicks off on Saturday

A large metal sculpture of a bull by Ou Vanndy.
A large metal sculpture of a bull by Ou Vanndy. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

French cultural exchange kicks off on Saturday

A 15-day celebration of French and Cambodian culture and exchange is set to kick off on Saturday with an open house and concert at the French Institute, which will be followed by a series of free and ticketed cultural, culinary and entrepreneurial events throughout Phnom Penh.

“Culture, gastronomy, artisanship, entrepreneurship” – those are the four guiding themes of the events, said Guillaume Massin, president of French-Cambodian chamber of commerce, who along with Franck Sampéré, president of the Good France Cambodia committee, helped organise the event with French Embassy.

A French dinner, networking boat cruise and a lecture by renowned French foreign correspondent Florence Aubenas are just a sampling of the 11 events scheduled through the end of the month, for which the full schedule can be accessed by visiting the Facebook page of the French Embassy.

“One value [of the events] is the dialogue between cultures, the opening of one to another, and it’s really this opening through culture that France promotes enormously; I find this is important,” French Ambassador Eva Nguyen Binh told The Post at a press conference at the French Embassy on Thursday.

Originally a weeklong occasion, Binh said this year the sheer number of events slated necessitated an expansion from simply a “French week” to a “French fifteen” or la quinzaine Française as it’s been dubbed in French.

Not to be missed is the “Art in the Park” event on Saturday and Sunday next week, for which the French Embassy opens its gardens to the public and where contemporary artists Em Riem, Philong Sovan, Thang Sothea, Ou Vanndy, Phe Sophon, Tor Vutha and Nou Sary have installed sculptures, as well as a photography exhibition.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Artist Em Riem sits inside a rattan sculpture, which he made to demonstrate the versatility of the material. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

Sothea has hung massive frond-like structures made from tin cans among the trees, which he says are a commentary on the environment and the problem of pollution.

Em Riem took a lighter approach, with his untitled work made to demonstrate the power and versatility of rattan.

Tor Vutha, meanwhile, drew upon his experience as a refugee in Thailand to make plastic-fibre human figures representing refugees, which he’s painted in red, a colour that represents both luck and danger or violence.

“It’s also a reminder, to question, why does this happen again?” he said, noting the current global crisis.

Supporting contemporary Cambodian artists this way, says Ambassador Nguyen Binh, also reflects values such as freedom of expression.

“They go abroad yet here they exhibit fairly little, even if they are renowned, but here [at the Embassy] we gave them carte blanche,” she said.

La quinzaine Francaise runs through March 30. For detailed information go to their Facebook page

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At